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Decision No. 17,512

Appeal of SHAIMAA MOSTAFA, on behalf of IBRAHIM MOCK, from action of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of New York regarding transportation.

Decision No. 17,512

(September 26, 2018)

Zachary W. Carter, Corporation Counsel, attorney for respondent, Lesley Berson Mbaye, Esq., of counsel

ELIA, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals a determination of the New York City Department of Education (“respondent”) to deny her child a hazard variance for the 2017-2018 school year.  The appeal must be dismissed.

Respondent's transportation policy (“Chancellor's regulation A-801”) provides for free transportation, either by school bus or public transit via a MetroCard, to students in grades three through six who live one mile or more from the school they attend.  Students in grades three through six who reside one-half mile or more but less than one mile from school are eligible for a half-fare MetroCard for public transportation.  Students not otherwise entitled to school bus transportation may annually seek a variance to receive such transportation, based on hazardous conditions along the student's walking route to school or to a bus stop.

On or about September 25, 2017, petitioner submitted a written request for a hazard variance for the 2017-2018 school year, on behalf of the student, to the Office of Pupil Transportation (“OPT”).  By letter dated October 20, 2017, OPT denied petitioner’s hazard variance request. This appeal ensued.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on December 13, 2017.

Petitioner asserts that she resides 0.7 miles away from the student’s school and that the student’s route to school is hazardous.  Specifically, petitioner contends that on the student’s route there is a hazardous exit zone; that there are no crossing guards on a mandatory path that the student must take from school to home[1]; the speed limit is 10 miles per hour higher than most residential areas; and there is no sidewalk on one of the blocks that the student must cross.  Petitioner also claims that, prior to denying her request, respondent should have provided petitioner with the opportunity to show respondent the areas of her concern.  Petitioner further alleges that respondent granted hazard exceptions for a 3rd and 5th grader who reside in the same neighborhood, and that respondent’s denial of petitioner’s request is “unexplained discrimination.”

Respondent asserts that petitioner failed to demonstrate any entitlement to a hazard variance or that respondent’s denial of the hazard variance was arbitrary or capricious.  On the contrary, respondent alleges that it acted in good faith in denying petitioner’s request for a hazard variance because OPT has provided petitioner with an alternative route that has no hazardous conditions that is less than one mile from the school, in accordance with Chancellor’s regulation A-801.

The appeal must be dismissed as moot.  The Commissioner will only decide matters in actual controversy and will not render a decision on a state of facts which no longer exist or which subsequent events have laid to rest (Appeal of Sutton, 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,331; Appeal of a Student with a Disability, 48 id. 532, Decision No. 15,940; Appeal of M.M., 48 id. 527, Decision No. 15,937).  The sole relief sought in the petition is a stay of respondent’s decision to deny petitioner a hazard variance for the 2017-2018 school year.  Since interim relief was denied on December 13, 2017 and the 2017-2018 school year has ended, the appeal must be dismissed as moot. 

In light of the above disposition, I need not address the parties’ remaining contentions.

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE

 

[1] The petition states that pictures of the student’s route are attached.  However, the petition contains no such pictures.  The only attachment is an overview map that lists the streets but does not depict the streets.